The BEST Apple Pie Recipe from Scratch
If you’re on the hunt for a tried-and-true dessert, this is the best apple pie recipe you can find. It has been my mom’s go-to for decades! The tender, yet crisp cinnamon apple filling is enveloped by a buttery, flaky pie crust. It’s a comforting dessert that can be enjoyed all year round!
My mom has a handful of desserts that never fail to please the crowds, one of which is her apple pie. Year round she whips out her homemade apple pie recipe and bakes for the family. Growing up I liked this pie so much sometimes I ate it for breakfast. No really… I did.
So, what makes this apple pie the best? The filling is the perfect balance of tart and sweet with apples that are still slightly firm after baking. Plus, the crust is buttery and flaky! My mom has probably used this recipe close to a hundred times so you know the recipe is truly perfected.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Comfort food: The warm and cozy flavors of homemade apple pie makes this a comforting dessert.
- Fall staple: Apples are abundant in autumn and you can use a variety to bake up this delicious seasonal pie.
- Holiday favorite: This dessert is a must for Thanksgiving and Christmas—your guests will love it.
- Make ahead options: Apple pie freezes really well, which makes for easy holiday prep.
- Reliable recipe: This one has been a go-to of mine for years, and my mom’s go-to for decades! It’s tried-and-true.
- Double crust for the bottom and top of the pie
- Large apples peeled, cored and sliced. Granny Smith, Pink Lady or Honeycrisp are best.
- Sugar helps the apples release their juices and make the filling sweet.
- All purpose flour helps thicken and subtly solidify the pie filling.
- Fresh lemon juice and zest prevents the apples from browning and keep their flavor bright!
- Cinnamon adds flavor to the filling. Make sure it is fresh and not expired for the best taste!
- Egg is mixed with a bit of milk for the egg wash, which creates a golden color on the crust.
Refer to the recipe card for ingredient details and measurements.
Add some extra fruit. A nice holiday addition is 1 cup fresh cranberries (reduce to 5 apples). You can also add a variety of fruit. Reduce to 4 apples and add 2 cups chopped rhubarb, fresh raspberries or blueberries, or sliced pears.
Include some nuts. Add 1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans or walnuts to the filling. Alternatively, finely chop the nuts and sprinkle them over the bottom pie crust before adding the filling. This helps absorb any juices and prevent a soggy crust.
Make a crumble topping: My favorite variation of this pie is using an oat crumb topping. Skip the top crust and make a homemade streusel instead!
Spice it up! Increase the cinnamon to 1 1/2 teaspoons for a cinnamon apple pie. You can also add 1/2 teaspoon cardamom and/or nutmeg to the filling.
Try different flavors: When preparing the fruit filling, add a splash of bourbon (about 2-3 Tablespoons). You can also substitute some of the sugar with pure maple syrup or caramel sauce. Reduce sugar to 1/3 cup and add 1/3 cup syrup or sauce.
How to Make the Best Apple Pie
- Prepare filling. Peel, core and cut apples into 1/4-inch slices. Place in a large bowl. Add sugar, flour, lemon juice, lemon zest and cinnamon to the bowl and gently mix using a wooden spoon or your hands until apples are well coated.
- Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes so the apples soften and juices form. Preheat oven to 425° F.
- Assemble. Roll out a pie dough to about 12 inches in diameter and transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Press into the bottom and up the sides. Let the excess hang over the rim. Transfer apples to pie plate. Add pads of butter on top, then place second pie crust on top. If doing a lattice crust, refer to detailed instructions below. Trim the edges and crimp with your fingers.
- Add egg wash and bake. Whisk together one egg and 1 tablespoon milk. Brush over the top crust and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 425° F for 15 minutes, then lower to 350° F and bake 40 minutes longer. Pie is done when juices are bubbling and apples are tender when poked with a toothpick.
How to Make a Lattice Pie Crust
Here are the step-by-step photos of the lattice crust I put on my apple cranberry pie. Start with a 12-inch pie crust rolled into a circle. Follow these instructions:
- Cut dough into 1 1/2-inch thick strips (I eyeballed it and got about 10 strips).
- Place 5 strips vertically across the pie. Fold back every other strip half way (1st, 3rd and 5th strip).
- From the remaining 5 strips, pick the largest and lay it horizontally across the pie. Fold back the vertical strips.
- Fold back the other two vertical strips (2nd and 4th). Place horizontal strip down. Repeat pattern until no strips remain.
- Tuck edges of the strips underneath and flute the edges of the crust.
Chill the pie crust. Using a crust that is cold will ensure a flaky texture! You can use store-bought, but homemade crust has more flavor!
Choose the right apples. You want crisp apples that will withstand the heat of the oven. I used a mix of Granny Smith (juicy, tart and firm) and Pink Lady (crisp with a balance of sweet and tart). Be sure to slice them to similar size, about 1/4-inch thick, so they bake at the same rate.
Discard the juices from the apple mixture. I like to use a large spoon to transfer the fruit to the pie. You don’t need the juices (they will make the crust soggy).
Bake at the right temperature. Starting at 425 F for 15 minutes will prevent a soggy crust, then reduce the temperature for 350 F to continue baking the filling.
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
Storage: Apple pie keeps at room temperature for 2 days and in the refrigerator for 5 days.
Freezing: Once cooled, cover the entire pie and dish with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Store on a flat surface in the freezer for up to three months. You can also freeze the pie before baking. Assemble, cover and freeze for up to 3 months. Bake from frozen at 425º F for 30 minutes and 375 for
Reheating: Defrost apple pie on the counter for 5 to 6 hours or ideally overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat in a 300º F oven for 30 minutes until warm. I suggest covering with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning the crust.
If the apple mixture is dumped into the crust with the juices, then the bottom crust will get soggy. Instead, spoon the apples into the crust and discard the juices remaining in the bowl.
Nope! If you like apples that are crisp, yet tender, you do not need to cook them prior to baking.
Granny Smith and Honeycrisp are best for baking because they keep their shape and crisp texture in the high heat of the oven. Other good varieties include Northern Spy, Pink Lady and Braeburn.
After peeling, cut the apples into 1/4-inch thick slices and discard the core. For quick and easy prep, I like to use the Johnny Apple peeler and corer.
What to Make with Lots of Apples
Looking for a way to use up some apples? I suggest trying these recipes.
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Get the Recipe: The BEST Apple Pie Recipe
- 1 recipe double pie crust
- 6 large apples, about 2 1/2 pounds (Granny Smith, Pink Lady or Honeycrisp)
- ⅔ cup (133 g) sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Raw sugar, for sprinkling on top
- Core, peel and cut the apples. I used an apple peeler to cut the apples to cut 1/4-inch thick slices quickly.
- Place apple slices in a large bowl. Pour lemon juice and lemon zest on apples first to prevent browning. Then sprinkle sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt on top. Use a wooden spoon or hands to combine mixture until apples are evenly coated.
- Let apple mixture sit 15 minutes so juices form and apples get tender.
- Preheat your oven to 425° F.
- If using my homemade pie crust recipe, remove the chilled dough from the fridge. On a well-floured board, roll out the dough to about 1/8 of an inch thick and 12-inches in diameter. Place it in a pie plate and gently press it into the bottom and up the sides.
- Add the room temperature apple filling to the pie plate. Roll out the other half of the dough and top your pie. Fold edges to form a thick edge crust and flute using your fingers. Cut a few vent slits in the center of the pie.
- Lattice Top: Cut the second dough into 10 strips. Place 5 strips vertically across the pie. Fold back every other strip half way (1st, 3rd and 5th strip). From the remaining 5 strips, pick the largest and lay it horizontally across the pie. Fold back the vertical strips. Fold back the other two vertical strips (2nd and 4th). Place horizontal strip down. Repeat pattern until no strips remain. Tuck edges of the strips underneath and flute the edges of the crust.
- Make egg wash by whisking egg and 1 tablespoon milk in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to brush mixture on top crust (you probably won't use all the mixture). Sprinkle crust with sugar.
- Bake at 425° F for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350° F. Bake for 40 minutes longer. Pie is done when the filling is bubbling and apples are tender when pricked with a toothpick. Cool completely on a rack, 3 to 4 hours.